18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
With an involvement in rugby that stretches to over 43 years, Gerry brings with him a wealth of experience, having excelled in the full range of roles in the sport- as a player, a coach and a rugby administrator through his work on various IRFU and Munster Branch committees.
His introduction to rugby came at a young age when as a ten your old Gerry joined Shannon RFC and progressed through the underage ranks to Junior and Senior levels. He represented Munster in the Junior Interprovincial season of 1971 and later played Senior rugby with Bective and Old Wesley.
Following his playing career, Gerry continued to contribute to the game by becoming a coach in Shannon's underage structure. He held the chairmanship of Shannon underage for three years as well as coaching the Ard Scoil Ris Senior schools team.
In recent years, Gerry's rugby administration talents have also come to the fore, having served as the Honorary Secretary in Shannon for four years and the Chairman of the club for five years. He was Chairman of the First Division Clubs Association for two years and was a representative of the IRFU Domestic Games working party. Within the Munster Branch, Gerry has been the Shannon delegate on the Branch Committee for the last two years and was the secretary of the Domestic Game Committee last season.
In his new role as President of the Munster Branch, Gerry continues a family tradition as his father in law Enda McNamara was President of the Branch, as well as Enda's brother Sean McNamara. Married to Brigid, they have four children including Sinead, Cormac, Fiach and Ross. When not involved in all things rugby, Gerry enjoys reading and music.
With such a range of rugby activity being undertaken across both the domestic and the professional game, Gerry is relishing the challenges ahead. Coming from a rugby stronghold, Gerry's heart is never too far from the club game, and one of his key focus points is to help improve communication links between the Munster Branch and the Clubs.
Developing the club game both on and off the field is a priority, and assisting clubs to source national and Local Government Funds for the development of their facilities through the in-house resources of the Munster Branch is also a key aim; "One of the key challenges ahead is the implementation of a strategic and annual operational plan for the Domestic Game reflecting the trends, experiences and development of the game in Munster. Within this plan, we need to focus on creating a high standard of competition for the Domestic Game at all levels through the development of innovative competition models."
Through his work with the Domestic Game Committee and the introduction of the Service Level Agreement, Gerry will be aiming to help the Branch to surpass the targets set out in the agreement. The funding of the game is a priority across the board and Gerry is looking forward to "working with all our sponsors to maintain and enhance the funding for the professional and domestic game."
On the provincial front, Gerry is aware of the need for Munster Rugby to "produce our own players to meet the challenge of the ever increasing standard of the professional game at European Level. As well as that, the ongoing development of Thomond Park and plans for Musgrave Park will compliment Munster's proud image as one of the best performing and most supported teams anywhere in the game."